If you’ve been following along then you know that I’ve been contemplating the roof rack for a while. First I was going to do it myself, then I decided to hire someone, then I went back to doing it myself, and so on and so forth. For months.
As of a few weeks ago I was all set to do the rack myself when I gazed up at the high top and noticed just how large it is.
Wow, that’s big. I asked myself: Do I have a plan for hoisting a giant roof rack 12 feet in the air? Am I 100% sure that I know the sturdiest way to mount the rack? Have I done any welding in the last six months? Have I welded anything useful before, like ever? Have I fabricated and installed a normal sized roof rack for practice?
No, no, no, no, and no.
Ultimately, the biggest question was: If I try to do it myself, is there a chance that I’ll screw it all up and regret it later?
Better leave this one to the professionals.
So the past few days has been spent calling welders, van conversion shops, metal fabrication shops, and custom roof rack shops. There was always something preventing me from pulling the trigger—distance, high prices, inexperience, or extremely long (6 weeks!) lead times. After much hemming and hawing, something finally clicked—an off-the-shelf Thule rack, mounted with artificial rain gutters.
I took Gypsy to Rack Solid in Berkeley, CA, for a consultation, and after a few minutes of talking with one of the co-owners I decided to take the plunge. If everything goes as planned, by the end of the day on December 27, Gypsy will have three brand spankin’ new Thule crossbars spanning her width. They will have been installed by professionals who have done this sort of thing before (definitely a good thing). And it will have cost less than any of the other options that were under consideration. Gotta love that.